[Underneath text was written before the start of the Giro and has not been updated]
In his turn, Egan Bernal succeeded Tao Geoghegan Hart, who turned out to be somewhat of a surprise winner on the 2020 Giro. The Briton never won a stage race in his career until that victory. In fact, it also proved to be his last triumph.
What to expect of this year’s Giro d’Italia?
Given his past performances in Italy – notably on the 2018 Giro -, Simon Yates would be the rider to watch. Winning three stages and delivering a two-week run in pink, he looked imperious that year. But then Chris Froome launched a lethal attack in stage 19, over the Colle dell Finestre, and Yates cracked. In retrospect, he mentioned that his aggressive racing style may have contributed to his collapse. He learned his lesson though, and he took a commanding Vuelta a España triumph that September.
In 2019, Yates returned to Italy to show the world he was ready to win Italy’s Grand Tour. But no. After a bland race he finished eight overall, while he withdrew in 2020 after testing positive for COVID-19. He bounced back a little last year, taking one stage and finishing on the podium, although he was never really in the running to win the GC.
Yates kicked off his 2022 campaign with a strong performance on Paris-Nice. He won a stage and finished second on GC behind Primoz Roglic. His performace on the Volta a Catalunya was obscured by illness and he was forced to abandon.
Three former winners are riding the Giro, Tom Dumoulin, Vincenzo Nibali and Richard Carapaz. The first two haven’t been very impressive in recents years in terms of the GC, although the ITT skills of Dumoulin are still beyond doubt. Carapaz is something else entirely and he is arguably the hottest favourite of all. Yet, he didn’t win anything this year. The Olympic Champion finished second in the Volta a Catalunya.
In fact, the only Giro contender with a multiday stage race victory under his belt is Romain Bardet. Recently, the Frenchman used the Tour of the Alps to indicate he is on form as the Giro approaches.
Mikel Landa has been dreaming of winning a Grand Tour for years. The Basque finished in 3rd at the Tirreno-Adriatico. He comes to Italy with a strong team. Most notably, Pello Bibao (stage winner Tour of the Alps and Itzulia Basque Country) and Wout Poels (stage win and GC Ruta del Sol), who are expected to be on domestique duty for Landa.
Joâo Almeida is another rider with good 2022 credentials. He took a mountain stage win in the Volta a Catalunya, before finishing the race 3rd on GC. The Portuguese cherishes fond memories of the Giro. In 2020, he wasn’t even supposed to start the Italian Grand Tour, and ended up delivering a 15-day run in the maglia rosa.
Miguel Ángel López didn’t do anything spectacular in terms of GCs this season, but he won a stage on the Tour of the Alps.
Favourites 2022 Giro d’Italia
***** Richard Carapaz, Simon Yates
**** Romain Bardet, Miguel Ángel López, Mikel Landa
*** João Almeida, Wilco Kelderman, Tom Dumoulin, Hugh Carthy
** Pello Bilbao, Giulio Ciccone, Jai Hindley, Iván Sosa, Tobias Foss
* Thymen Arensman, Emanuel Buchmann, Wout Poels, Guillaume Martin